KINGSTON, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York Attorney General Letitia James and leaders of local law enforcement in Ulster and Dutchess Counties announced a criminal operation on Wednesday. They shared specifics about a dozen arrests connected to a drug ring running throughout the Hudson Valley, from Saratoga County to New Paltz.
Eleven individuals were arrested, and James said officials took custody of drug dealing paraphernalia and assault weapons. She said the drug ring included heroin and meth pressed into pill form to resemble prescription pain killers and antianxiety medication.
The investigation led to the recovery of:
- 11 kilograms of cocaine, with an estimated street value of $1.2 million
- 15,000 methamphetamine pills, disguised as Adderall pills, with an approximate street value of $100,000
- 5,000 artificial Xanax pills, with an approximate street value of $50,000
- 750 heroin pills, disguised as oxycodone, with an approximate street value of $20,000
- 39 firearms, including four assault weapons
- 40 high-capacity magazines
- Hundreds of rounds of ammunition
- $120,000 in cash
James and her fellow investigators accused Christopher Pulichene, 39, of New Paltz, of operating an illegal pill distribution network in and around Ulster, Dutchess, and Saratoga Counties—and elsewhere. Pulichene allegedly bought heroin pills from Alton Countryman, 35, who was supported by his wife, Thekla Countryman, 35, and Joshua Guldy, 21, all three residents of Kingston.
James said that Alton Countryman created pills from powdered heroin at his home, and disguised them to look like pharmaceutical-grade oxycodone pills. Pulichene then sold those heroin pills for resale to Thomas Colon, 60, of Saugerties, Julia Eaton, 34, of Gansevoort, and Zachary Vanvlack, 34, of Wappinger Falls, according to James.
James said Pulichene also bought methamphetamine pills disguised as pharmaceutical-grade Adderall pills from a source on the West Coast. Pulichene then allegedly sold those methamphetamine pills to Colon, Eaton, Vanvlack, and Devyn Wolny, 24, of New Paltz. James says Colon then sold the pills to Ralph Banks, Jr., 50, of Saugerties, and others in the network.
Officials also said that Pulichene operated an illegal cocaine distribution network. He allegedly obtained cocaine from a source on the Gulf Coast and then sold the cocaine to Colon, Eaton, and Wolny for resale to others. Colon allegedly resold the cocaine to Banks, Kevin Drake, Jr., 32, of Kingston, and Nicholas Lasusa, 31, of Saugerties.
- Christopher Pulichene
- Ralph Banks, Jr.
- Thomas Colon
- Alton Countryman
- Thekla Countryman
- Robert Curry
- Kevin Drake Jr.
- Julia Eaton
- Joshua Guldy
- Nicholas Lasusa
- Zachary Vanvlack
- Devyn Wolny